Tag Archives: football

Stories from the Archive – Leisure Activities (Part 3 – football)

In February 2016 I gave a talk about the archives as part of the Thursday lunchtime Recital Room series. I’ll put the talk on the blog in a series of posts. The third installment is below. Click here for the first installment (about Arthur Rowntree’s views about leisure activities) and here for the second installment (about cricket).

John Ford

John Ford (Headmaster 1829-65)

According to the 1923 School History, Football was introduced to the school by John Ford on 13th October 1862. According to James Edmund Clark, “John Ford had been on pilgrimage to Rugby, to behold the scenes familiar through the life of his great favourite, Dr. Arnold. Finding how rarely serious harm resulted there, he decided to remove the embargo at Bootham. So one day, soon after twelve o’clock, the bell summoned us to “collect.” The lines were unusually straight and wondering, for at the head stood John Ford, with the “forbidden thing” in his hand. Had anyone smuggled it in? No! he told us all about it, gave us our first ball and himself the first kick, straight as an arrow between the lines.” H.M Wallis does point out though in his chapter in the 1923 School History that the rules were somewhat vague, although this is unsurprising at a time when the rules of the game were still being codified, and there would have been many versions around. He says “we knew not whether to put the ball over or under the bar, or if handling was allowed.” It is however possible that a version of football had been played at some earlier point – George Scarr Watson, who was at the school between 1853 and 1858 mentioned that a broken rib or arm had put an end to football before his time – he saw it later as a “merciful dispensation of Providence. How many journeys to witness cup finals I have escaped; also colds and chills and pneumonias caught in watching that astonishing game.”

Arthur Rowntree, who was a student at the school in the 1870s and went on to become Headmaster, remembered the first football match with an outside team—”we played in ordinary clothes and counted the enemy snobs for changing.” He also remembered how there were 60 boys in the school when he started, and they all played football together in ordinary weekday clothes—North v. South, Senior v. Schoolroom—and thankful we youngsters were if we touched the ball once during the hour.”

PH.03.003.026a 1900s scrapbook page 26 Football

1907

Gradually the game became established, and when the magazine started in 1902, football team reports appeared. The team notes were written by the captain, and were notable for their honesty. An extract from 1903 gives an example:

“We began the season with an unusually young and inexperienced line of forwards. They improved as the season went on. But as three of them are to be with us next season we may be excused mentioning a few of their faults, in hopes of still further improvement—-

  1. Standing in an impossible position to receive a pass and staying there.
  2. Receiving a ball facing wrong way, so that the opposing half easily forces them towards their own goal or into touch.
  3. Slowness in taking advantage of openings in front of goal.
  4. Lack of strenuousness.
  5. Want of pace.”

 

 

Memories from the Archives – Part 4

In January I did a talk as part of the Thursday lunchtime recital room series. It was entitled ‘Memories from the Archives’ and I talked about a number of memories from Old Scholars. I’ll share the photographs and text from the talk in several parts on the blog. Read Part 1 herePart 2 here and Part 3 here.

Joshua Rowntree

Joshua Rowntree (1844-1915; Bootham 1856-60)

Joshua Rowntree also attended Bootham at around the same time as Edward R. Allen (see Part 3). His entry in the 1914 Register includes some memories. “I started life at Bootham as a ‘brat’, subject, with eleven others, to a weekly foot washing by “Pea on a Broomstick”, as a tall housemaid with a small head was known amongst us.” We know very little about the non-teaching staff at the school from earlier years – often the only clues you have are brief mentions such as this.

Joshua goes on to talk about what he learned at school: “One thing I learned fairly well – to make fires. We might volunteer for stoking, receiving, I think, 6d. a week in recompense. It was a longish way from No. 2 bedroom to the schoolroom grates on cold, dark mornings, but a boy ought to know how to build up a fire quickly, and I never regretted the work.”

He also mentions games: “It was the pre-scientific period for games. Cricket was rather haphazard, and the junior club often resolved itself into discussions in the high key. Football had not come. Stag a rag was one of the best playground games with the rare exceptions of a big slide in time of frost, and Run-across was naturally enjoyable to a fair sized fellow. Boys who had sisters at the Girls’ school got a good run each week to accomplish their ‘visit’ in the half-hour after breakfast at Castlegate; and in after years in the hour before dinner at the Mount. The latter time was seriously curtailed when Mr. Hill and the old ferryman happened to be at the wrong side of the river with both boats together.”

It wasn’t until 1862 that the first football match was played, and Lendal Bridge wouldn’t open until 1863. As far as I can find out, Stag a rag appears to have been a version of tag.

First World War: Football matches

“Football during the past winter has naturally felt the effects of the war. Indeed, we were lucky in being able to obtain any recreation of the kind during such a national crisis. We decided unanimously to give up two afternoons a week to ambulance drill, and not a few thought that the variety thus introduced was good for our general condition, and that practices were keener than usual. Naturally, a large number of our football matches with men’s teams were cancelled, but football was continued with unabated vigour, and as a result the boys’ matches showed considerably better results than the previous term; nevertheless, some very good matches were lost.”

From Bootham magazine, account of Spring Term 1915 in June 1915 edition

1914 Register – moths, skating and football

In 1914 the first edition of the Bootham School Register was published. It included (as far as was known) the names, dates and biographies of all the boys that attended the school up to that date. 1988 names were included in all. As well as being a useful way of finding out about Old Scholars, it provides a useful insight into the period, for example what occupations people had, and how they spent their free time. It also includes a number of memories of schooldays. A number of the entries make reference to the character of the individual.

1914 Register

Below are some examples of extracts from the Register (hopefully the first in a series of posts).

Thomas Henry Allis (Lawrence St 1830-31) Osbaldwick, York, Commercial Traveller … Apprenticed to Jarvis Brady, Leeds, Grocer : later was with Godfrey Woodhead, Manchester : Latterly in shop, and then travelled for Tuke & Co., Tea Merchants, Castlegate, York : Taste – T.H.A. inherited much of his father’s taste as a naturalist – His sister, the late Elizabeth Pumphrey, wrote: “T.H.A. took to his Father’s Collection of Lepidoptera [group including butterflies and moths] and amalgamated them with his own, which was ultimately, I believe, second to but one out of London. This collection was, after T.H.A.’s death, presented to the York Museum. T.H.A. was accustomed to go into the woods with a dark lantern to sugar the trees and fences, and on returning the following evening to capture such moths, etc., as were caught : On one occasion he was accosted as a poacher by a keeper near Heslington. One summer he thought that the Convolvulus Sphinx moth ought to be found about a bed of Petunias that he saw in James Backhouse’s Nurseries in Fishergate, and he persisted in going to the gardens night after night until he was rewarded by finding numbers of what was thought to be almost extinct in the neighbourhood….”

William Henry Broadhead (Bootham 1855-58) An enthusiastic archaeologist and naturalist ; Spent much time in photographing and recording the Templar Marks on old houses in Leeds, most of which are now pulled down : embodied results of researches in paper read before Thoresby Society : Also interested in Egyptology, especially in connection with Pyramids : Hobbies – Photography, lock-mending.

Samuel Southall Burlingham (Bootham 1870-72) Hobbies – A devotee of fen skating and touring on the ice (when there is any in England). In 1881 traversed on ice almost the whole distance from the mouth of the River Nene to the Trent, near Gainsborough, via Spalding, Boston and Lincoln. In 1903 skated nearly 100 miles in one day.

Jackson Ebenezer Day (Lawrence St 1839) Within 5 minutes of his arrival at Lawrence Street he produced from his playbox a football, which he kicked across the playground. Up went a window, and J. Ford called out “Ebenezer Day, we do not allow such rough games as football here.” Many years after [in1862] J. Ford introduced the game himself, giving the ball the first kick.

John Firth Fryer 1840-1914

John Firth Fryer

Today (28th February) marks the 100th anniversary of the death of John Firth Fryer, Bootham’s headmaster between 1875 and 1899. He started as a pupil at the school in 1854, and apart from a year at the Flounders Institute at Ackworth training to become a teacher, he remained at the school until his retirement in 1899. During his headship, he oversaw changes including teaching becoming departmentalised, permission being granted by the committee for the hire of a piano for practice during leisure time (which rapidly became the purchase of two pianos, hymn singing on Sunday evenings and the introduction of concerts), and the end of earlier customs such as no plates at breakfast or tea. Unfortunately his headship finished with the fire in 1899 which destroyed much of the school.

He seems to have been a keen footballer for a while, according to his obituary (in ‘Bootham’ magazine, May 1914): “When, however, the game [football] was sanctioned and John Ford himself gave the initial kick…in September 1862, no one proved a more enthusiastic player than J. F. Fryer, until an unlucky kick under the knee temporarily incapacitated him and made it undesirable for him to keep it on.”

His poem about football, ‘A Lay of Modern York’ was reprinted with his obituary in 1914, and its ending is particularly poignant considering what would follow later in 1914. Here are the last two verses:

“Thus onward speeds the conflict,

With various fortune blest;

First one side – then the other –

The poor ball gets no rest!

First to left and then to right,

Now here, now there, the ball is sped.

Anon one side the victory sees

An then its hopes are all but fled.

In short, so various is the scene

In this so happy, playful strife

As not remiss to represent

The strange vicissitudes of life.

 

Would that all strife as harmless were as this,

Would that all sanguinary war would cease,

All kingdoms of the happy earth rejoice

Beneath the reign of universal Peace.

The man of war his sword to ploughshare beat,

His deadly spear to pruning hook would turn;

Nations in battle fierce no more would meet,

No more with rage against each other burn;

And thus no longer war, but Peace delight to learn.”

J. F. Fryer

4th November 1862, 20, Bootham, York